Day 79

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Pretty sure I should apologise for today’s music again except I’m not sorry :p

There is something of a cinema institution in the UK that started when movies were still in black and white. It’s a series called ‘St. Trinians’ and is about an anarchic Catholic Girls School that houses the ultimate in ‘naughty school girls’. Recently the franchise got a modern makeover with stars like Gemma Aterton, Talulah Riley, Rupert Everett (as both a man and a woman….) and Colin Firth (and a dog named Mr Darcy which is understandably hilarious). Oh! And Paloma Faith as a goth chick which was a surprise. It’s ridiculous and terrible and that sort of awful that is both fun and brilliant.

There’s another British institution – the Brit Pop pop group. Equally awful and ridiculous and addictive, so it’s no surprise that one of the biggest groups of recent years sang the theme song for St Trinians. It’s catchy and I’ve been singing the chorus all afternoon, much to my husband’s dismay (he *hates* factory pop music, which, if I’m honest, is half the appeal for me. I am of the Rita Rudner school of marriage – “it’s so nice to find that one person you want to annoy for the rest of your life”. He knew this when he married me. Silly man.).

Bet it gets stuck in your head too 🙂

I was looking at the blanket this evening trying to decide which yarn to use for the square and noticed that this section of the blanket is looking…. more muted than the rest of it so I’ve put in the bright ‘Brasil’ stripes by Regia. Which, now I think about it, is appropriate given that the World Cup finished today. (Congratulations Germany).

day 79

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Day 26

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The sweaters new theme song…..

driftwood-colour plan

Sweater colour plan version 1

I have started knitting again for the sweater. I am using it as an opportunity to rework the colour plan because I wasn’t happy with it but I wasn’t so unhappy that I was going to undo I just to fuss with the colours but now I’ve undone it anyway, I’m going to fuss. I’ve also decided to give steeking a try.

driftwood - colour plan v2

Sweater colour plan version 2 (current)

Normally knitting a garment is done in one of two ways – by knitting each piece individually then sewing it all together or by knitting in the round – like with a sweater, you can go round and round in continuous circles until you reach the armpits. At that point the work is separated for the front and back and worked into the described shape, then sewing the upper body and sleeves together. Steeking means you don’t have to do that. Instead you work the shaping as usual but where you will put the sleeve or the collar you continue to knit. These waste sections will be cut when the knitting is finished. Before cutting, one of several techniques will be used to keep the stitches in order when they are cut so the whole garment doesn’t just fall apart.

Taking a pair of scissors to my knitting is a terrifying prospect but working in continuous knit stitch circles is much faster than having to alternate between knit and purl rows, turning the work in between. I like the pattern and love the yarn but I’ve already knit most of this sweater once… So my friend E is going to help me when I’m ready.

Obviously we're not ready yet.

Obviously we’re not ready yet.

Tonight’s blanket piece is another trapezoid but this one is a mirror of the one we’ve made so here’s a new pattern for you.

Trapezoid with the incline side to the right

Pick up 15 stitches for the short side, 1 stitch in the corner, 31stitches for the long side – 47 stitches

Row 1 – k1, (sl1, k1, psso), k27, (sl2, k1, psso), k14 – 44sts

Row 2 – knit

Row 3 – k1, (sl1, k1, psso), k25, (sl2, k1, psso), k13 – 41sts

Row 4 – knit

Row 5 – k1, (sl1, k1, psso), k23, (sl2, k1, psso), k12 – 38sts

Row 6 – knit

Row 7 – k1, (sl1, k1, psso), k21, (sl2, k1, psso), k11 – 35sts

Row 8 – knit

Row 9 – k1, (sl1, k1, psso), k19, (sl2, k1, psso), k10 – 32sts

Row 10 – knit

Row 11 – k1, (sl1, k1, psso), k17, (sl2, k1, psso), k9 – 29sts

Row 12 – knit

Row 13 – k1, (sl1, k1, psso), k15, (sl2, k1, psso), k8 – 26sts

Row 14 – knit

Row 15- k1, (sl1, k1, psso), k13, (sl2, k1, psso), k7 – 23sts

Row 16 – knit

Row 17 – k1, (sl1, k1, psso), k11, (sl2, k1, psso), k6 – 20sts

Row 18 – knit

Row 19 – k1, (sl1, k1, psso), k9, (sl2, k1, psso), k5 – 17sts

Row 20 – knit

Row 21 – k1, (sl1, k1, psso), k7, (sl2, k1, psso), k4 – 14sts

Row 22 – knit

Row 23 – k1, (sl1, k1, psso), k5, (sl2, k1, psso), k3 – 11sts

Row 24 – knit

Row 25 – k1, (sl1, k1, psso), k3, (sl2, k1, psso), k2 – 8sts

Row 26 – knit

Row 27 – k1, (sl1, k1, psso), k2, (sl2, k1, psso), k1 – 6sts

Row 28 – k1, (sl1, k2tog, psso), k1 – 3sts

Row 29 – (sl2, k1, psso) – 1st

day 26

I’m falling asleep here so I won’t say anything else except ‘good night’ 🙂

Day 8

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Not sure what to write about today so I’ll just start with telling you that I returned to Bach today but instead of the Brandenburg concerto’s I listened to Concerto for 2 Harpsichords, Strings and Continuo No.5 in C minor’. Then I went on to Handel’s ‘Music for the Royal Fireworks’

I’m using another Austermann yarn (I have a lot in my stash). This one is a self-patterning yarn designed to imitate a fair isle pattern. The colourway is #48, called ‘Fuchsia’.

I added the square between the square from yesterday (day 7) and the rectangle from day 6 to complete a third large square.

day 8 - detail

Detail of picked up stitches – brown fabric is from day 7, pink from day 6. You can see stitches 12-14 above the brown fabric, the central stitches for decrease start with stitch 15 where days 6 and 7 join, stitch 16 is in the last decrease from day 6. Stitches 17 to 31 are in the pink fabric of day 6.

day 8

What’s the difference between self-patterning and self-striping yarn Charlotte?

Self-striping is simpler than self-patterning in its use of colour. Self-striping yarn is just that, it has been dyed to produce stripes of colour. Self-patterning yarn often requires a computer to determine the length of yarn that will be dyed in each colour to make a more complex pattern. You’ve seen examples of both in my blanket. The Regia Brasil yarn from day 5 was dyed to produce regular sections of alternating colour and pattern, as well as the yarn used from day 3 by Opal (picture below). The Step yarn from day 6 was dyed to produce graduating stripes of pink. There are other self-striping yarns that have no patterned sections and are dyed to produce definite stripes such as this Step yarn in ‘Vulcan’ which I am thinking of using tomorrow.

windward-cropped

One pattern repeat of the yarn used on day 3 – Opal sock yarn in Sweet and Spicy colourway Plum

Step-Holiday-Color-194-pink

Example of the entirety of the Step sock yarn used on day 6 in Holiday Color #194 – Pink

vulcan sock-cropped

Vulcan colourway of Step sock yarn – definite plain stripes in grey, red and black

In the pictures above you can see how different the fabric produced looks when it is done in stocking stitch rather than in garter stitch.

Sock yarn is versatile and can also be used for shawls. When a yarn and pattern are chosen carefully to compliment each other, even simple mitred squares can produce something spectacular.

tropicalfish

My favourite shawl made from 3 balls of Schoppel-Wolle’s Zauberball (1200m of yarn!!!). It is tremendously difficult to leave any yarn-related event with it.

Day 5

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Today has been a mixed day. I didn’t want to go to knitting this morning. It starts early so it’s always a bit of a pain to get up and get going but I enjoyed myself well enough when I got there. As usual though, I knit not a stitch. Part of that was because i had breakfast at the cafe but the other part was because I helped fix a friends knitting then helped another friend wind some yarn skeins into balls. Useful tip – sequins look very pretty in the yarn but they catch in the yarn as you’re trying to unskein it so proceed carefully.

I have an important meeting tomorrow that has me a bit more tense than usual so as well as my knitting meditation I did day 1 of ‘Get some headspace’s’ 10-minute meditation. The app has been on my tablet for more than a year and I kept meaning to try it so today I did. I really enjoyed it. It’s really nice to take 10 minutes to just be. I recommend it. Their website has lots of information.

Today’s music has been Handel’s ‘Water Music’ which I’ve not listened to in its entirety before. I love Handel’s music. I was going to keep listening to the CD (lots of knitting for today’s square) but the rest of the CD is the ‘Music for the Royal Fireworks’. It’s a little more energetic and I find myself listening to the music instead of knitting. Not a bad thing, but not the point of the exercise.

I’m using Regia yarn today. This yarn is self-patterning and is from the Brasil Color range. This specific colour pattern is called ‘Salvatore’.

I made a big  square today. It’s the size of all four that we’ve just made so it took quite some time longer. Knitting is straight forward though.

Starting at the tip of square 4, pick up 31sts evenly along edge of squares 2  and 4 (15 on square 4, 1 at the tip of square 2, 15 along the edge of square 2), side cast on 32sts – 63sts on your needle.

You’re going to follow exactly the same pattern as you’ve been working for the smaller squares but you will start with larger number and knit for longer –

Row 1: k30, sl2 together, k1, psso, k30, turn – 61sts
Row 2: k across
Row 3: k29, sl2 together, k1, psso, k29, turn – 59sts
Row 4: k across
Row 5: k28, sl2 together, k1, psso, k28, turn – 57sts
Row 6: k across
Row 7: k27, sl2 together, k1, psso, k27, turn – 55sts
Row 8: k across
Row 9: k26, sl2 together, k1, psso, k26, turn – 53sts
Row 10: k across
Row 11: k25, sl2 together, k1, psso, k25, turn – 51sts
Row 12: k across
Row 13: k24, sl2 together, k1, psso, k24, turn – 49sts
Row 14: k across
Row 15: k23, sl2 together, k1, psso, k23, turn – 47sts
Row 16: k across
Row 17: k22, sl2 together, k1, psso, k22, turn – 45sts
Row 18: k across
Row 19: k21, sl2 together, k1, psso, k21, turn – 43sts
Row 20: k across
Row 21: k20, sl2 together, k1, psso, k20, turn – 41sts
Row 22: k across
Row 23: k19, sl2 together, k1, psso, k19, turn – 39sts
Row 24: k across
Row 25: k18, sl2 together, k1, psso, k18, turn – 37sts
Row 26: k across
Row 27: k17, sl2 together, k1, psso, k17, turn – 35sts
Row 28: k across
Row 29: k16, sl2 together, k1, psso, k16, turn – 33sts
Row 30: k across
Row 31: k15, sl2 together, k1, psso, k15, turn – 31sts
Row 32: k across
Row 33: k14, sl2 together, k1, psso, k14, turn – 29sts
Row 34: k across
Row 35: k13, sl2 together, k1, psso, k13, turn – 27sts
Row 36: k across
Row 37: k12, sl2 together, k1, psso, k12, turn – 25sts
Row 38: k across
Row 39: k11, sl2 together, k1, psso, k11, turn – 23sts
Row 40: k across
Row 41: k10, sl2 together, k1, psso, k10, turn – 21sts
Row 42: k across
Row 43: k9, sl2 together, k1, psso, k9, turn – 19sts
Row 44: k across
Row 45: k8, sl2 together, k1, psso, k8, turn – 17sts
Row 46: k across
Row 47: k7, sl2 together, k1, psso, k7, turn – 15sts
Row 48: k across
Row 49: k6, sl2 together, k1, psso, k6, turn  – 13sts
Row 50: k across
Row 51: k5, sl2 together, k1, psso, k5, turn – 11sts
Row 52: k across
Row 53: k4, sl2 together, k1, psso, k4, turn – 9sts
Row 54: k across
Row 55: k3, sl2 together, k1, psso, k3, turn – 7sts
Row 56: k across
Row 57: k2, sl2 together, k1, psso, k2, turn – 5sts
Row 58: k across
Row 59: k1, sl2 together, k1, psso, k1, turn – 3sts
Row 60: k across
Row 61: sl2 together, k1, psso – 1sts. Break yarn and pull tail through.

(I’ve gone back to day 1 and added in stitch counts for each row, and corrected the number of stitches to knit after the decrease. That’s what happens when you cut and paste, then don’t properly proof-read).

Phew!

day5

 

But Charlotte, what *is* sock yarn? 

Firstly, you need to know about ‘yarn weight’ vs. ‘gram weight’. Yarn is available in maaaaaaany different thicknesses. These thicknesses have been divided into general categories based, I believe, on how many strands of thread to be twisted or plied together for thickness way back when. This doesn’t hold true so much any more and yarn thickness is measured more by how many strands of a finished yarn it takes to fill the width of an inch on a ruler. This is called wraps per inch (WPI) but is rarely referred to outside the craft of yarn spinning (but is a much more accurate way of determining if one yarn can be substituted for another).

 

Gram weight is how much a ball of yarn weighs when placed on a set of scales. Much simpler to work out.

The most common yarn weights used these days are 4-ply and DK (double knit or 8-ply, therefore double the thickness of 4-ply) but yarn can be as thin as thread or as thick as your finger. Some people even knit with rope, and some with fine wire.

Sock yarn is a subtype of 4-ply (if you’re in the UK/Australia, or fingering if you’re in America), and refers more specifically to the fibre content than the thickness of the yarn. Sock yarn is 75% superwash wool, 25% nylon. Superwash means that the wool is machine washable. If non-Superwash wool is washed in a machine, it shrinks and the fibres matt together. This is called felting. You don’t want this in a pair of socks. Nor do you want holes forming within a few wears. This is what the nylon is for. Wool is hardy but nylon adds longwearing to it.

Sock yarn is available in a variety of colourways. It comes in plain or solid colours. It can come in semi-solid colours – a bit like variegation but more subtle usually. It is also available in self-striping or self-patterning colourways.

These last two work best as socks as the patterning is designed to be knitted in the round and in stocking stitch. When knit flat or in garter stitch you lose some of the patterning or get colour ‘pooling’ – where one colour seems to gather in a particular spot rather than spread out as it is designed to. In garter stitch, because of the way the stitches interlock, you lose half of the pattern in the troughs between the peaks of right side rows. This means that you need to work 2 rows of a colour to get the same sort of striping you would if you worked in stocking stitch.

You can see how the number of stitches and rows affects how the colour gathers in todays square. Some of the rows have half a row of one colour while the other half of that row is part one colour and part another. The yarn I chose still made a good pattern in the square but some yarns have very short sections of colour which gives you only a few stitches of each colour. That can look like *clown barf when knitted in garter stitch. Be careful to match your yarn to your project and test your self-striping yarn in any stitch pattern you plan to knit. You don’t want to spend days knitting beautiful lace only to have it get lost in the bright colours of a self-striping yarn.

 

*No, I am not actually going to explain this term. You ought to be able to guess 😉